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National Apprenticeship Week: What’s It Like Being An Apprentice?

This week we are celebrating the brilliant National Apprenticeship Week!

But when all’s said and done what’s it really like being an apprentice? Well who better to tell us than… well an apprentice. We caught up with Owen Smith, an Apprentice Project Manager at Kier Highways, to answer some questions about his experience.

So if you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship, grab a brew and have a read.


Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships stood out to me for lots of reasons, I preferred the idea of learning and also applying those skills in a workplace at the same time. As well as this, I wanted to be able to financially support myself so I can have something to show for the work that I’m doing.

I’d always struggled with learning on my own and with exams, so I felt that having a team of people around me who are experienced and can support me will motivate me and give me the boost that I may need.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Because of the project I currently work on, it changes every day.

Sometimes I’ll have to prepare for meetings with the client, which involves updating financial reports and programmes of work to reflect progress and complete a highlight report, which picks out key activities and risks within the project.

On other occasions I may be communicating with sub-contractors to set a scope of works to get quoted and resource allocated, so I’m able to programme this work in.

I can then be raising quotes, organising traffic management applications and briefing an internal supervisor before they go out on site by creating a job pack, which contains various work briefs and health and safety documents.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

For me it would have to be being commended by the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) in their National Apprentices of the Year Awards.

I was invited up to Manchester to attend their Young Professionals conference to find out who won and to listen to different professionals discussing the future of transport and sustainability and innovation. The day was great, I found it really informative and it was a memorable moment being presented with my certificate in front of all the other attendees.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?

I would definitely recommend apprenticeships, as I’ve learnt so much over the past two years.

I’ve been fortunate to get put onto a really good course and to be supported by industry professionals who have a lot of knowledge they’re willing to share. I’ve been made to feel part of the team and also had the opportunity to travel around the country participating in events and promoting apprenticeships, which is always a great experience.

What advice would you give to someone looking for an apprenticeship?

When you begin your apprenticeship you need to remember to be yourself. You probably won’t know what you’re doing and how everything works so it may be daunting at first, so make sure you just try to show initiative and work as hard as you can. Asking people questions about work will allow you to learn, but also begin building those relationships as you’ll become a familiar face and get to know people.